What's Going On With Goodwill Industries?
All merchandise is donated. . .
Goodwill Industries and this author have been close friends for several decades. Between us we’ve dressed a family, furnished homes, equipped kitchens and shared a gadzillion gadgets. It’s a friendship based on economics, charity and well. . . good will! I’ve shopped Goodwill in several states, large metropolitan areas and small towns and always found at least one bargain I just couldn’t resist. On some shopping adventures at Goodwill I’ve left the store after spending only two dollars and others I’ve had to take a pickup truck to haul my bargains home.
Well, “ain’t that just grand?” Yeah, it was. . . until recently. Quite by chance I’ve had the opportunity to shop various and sundry Goodwill Stores in differing locations these past few weeks and for the first time in my long and illustrious bargain shopping career; I’ve come away empty handed and disappointed. The reasons are many and varied. Probably first and foremost is the “new” pricing policy – if indeed that’s what it is. We’re all aware everything under the sun now costs more but one can only wonder at the logic Goodwill Industries is now employing to price their merchandise.
Everything Goodwill puts on their shelves was donated by some generous soul that had too much, didn’t want the item or found they had more “stuff” than space. Donations range from slightly used candles to incredible Persian rugs and upscale furniture. The donations are ongoing and never cease. Goodwill also hires the handicapped and persons that otherwise might not be able to find employment – which is a very good thing. The concept of Goodwill Industries sounds like a win-win situation for everyone including the shopper – and for a while it was!
Add a dollar and buy new. . .
My last shopping trip to Goodwill Industries was in a brand, spanking new, big Goodwill operation and was far less than successful or satisfying. One’s first impression upon entering the new facility is not that of a “second-hand” sort of place but a cheap, close-out, new merchandise facility. Every kind of display imaginable to mortal man is evident and appropriate NEW merchandise is beautifully displayed. Now, for an old Goodwill shopper like me I’m wondering what’s going on. If I wanted new merchandise I’d go to a retail store that specializes in that sort of thing and be done with it. The other side of that coin is the new merchandise Goodwill has (obviously donated by retail stores paring down their inventory) is priced very little less than one would pay retail for the item.
I found used, small appliances to be non-existent and things like a comforter and shams (which were used) were priced anywhere from $50-$75! That, dear hearts, is not a bargain to this shopper. Ladies shoes (which used to be gently worn) are now either ragged and worn for $10 or new and priced at $40 and I’m not interested in those either. If I’m going to pay $40 for shoes – it’s going to be a new pair!
Used blue jeans were at a minimum of $9.99 and some were not what I’d call “wearable” as they were even beyond the “tattered” look the kids like. T-shirts were in the shape/category I’d use to paint or do yard work in and they were priced at a $4.99 minimum. Fact is, I didn’t find anything in the store – in the way of clothing – that was less than $4.99.
As to the people working in that store – I didn’t see anyone that couldn’t have secured employment in a retail setting anywhere, anytime! They all spoke pretty good English, seemed physically capable, were rude, disgruntled, non-helpful and seemed to resent a potential customer inquiring as to any of the merchandise, etc. In other words they acted like most (not all, mind you) employees in most stores one shops today. They were on the time clock, were going to do as little as possible, and had little or no interest whatsoever in being courteous or helpful. Those persons stocking the place (with all new merchandise) could have cared less if they were in a shopper’s way or not. They remained on their ladders, parked their carts in shoppers’ paths and acted like the few customers in the store were invisible.
For a fact, Goodwill Industries has moved on, up and away – away from the people who used to frequent their stores to buy or just peruse, upped their prices to a ridiculous point -- which certainly couldn’t (in anyone’s mind) be considered a bargain and it seems no longer values customers at all. After one reaches a certain age there’s always the possibility one has become more sensitive (another word for that is “crochety”)! I don’t think that’s the case here as I didn’t speak to another soul while I was IN the store, asked no questions, and didn’t buy a damned thing! I was, however, watching everything that went on around me!
Another one bites the dust. . .
I shopped for probably 45 minutes, became discouraged and took my basket back to the front, parked it and walked out the fancy glass doors with three other ladies who had just done the same thing. My inquiring – or nosy – mind took over and as the three of us departed and the doors closed behind us, I just stopped and asked a question. “Are you ladies as disappointed as I am in this store?” All three immediately stopped and in unison said “YES!” Thereupon we briefly visited, as those of like mind are inclined to do, and all of us expressed the same feelings – “what happened to our old, standby Goodwill Industries?” We were a mixed bag as to age as there was a young mother with a baby on her hip, a college student, a secretary on her lunch hour and I represented the “over the hill gang” but any one of us could have spoken for all of us. We were just plain disappointed!
To a person – we agreed – this was our last shopping trip to Goodwill Industries as it was no longer filling the needs of those persons who must shop on a very small budget. We could all go to any retail store, add one to five dollars to the prices we’d just seen and have new merchandise – so, why shop Goodwill? We didn’t visit long and didn’t have much in common but the common denominator among us was we wouldn’t be wasting gas driving to a Goodwill Store only to be disappointed.
No, Goodwill Industries isn’t the pleasant, friendly place I used to shop for bargains. It’s turned into just another money-grubbing, dollar-type store with second rate new merchandise and very little “used” stuff. The floors are spic and span and shine like new money. The windows are polished and professionally decorated. The parking lot is huge and very customer friendly – but the folks who work inside are not.
Just to put an exclamation point to this “Goodwill Review” – as again, I didn’t say a word to anyone in the store while I was shopping (but just listened and looked) -- I can’t claim anyone was rude to me personally. I can’t say that for a couple of other customers who made the mistake of making an inquiry to Goodwill employees. Bottom line is – looks like another American pastime – shopping Goodwill – has bitten the proverbial dust.
It appears corporate America has struck again. The powers that be in marketing have injected their ideas, employees and business patterns into the mix and kind of like Sears and J.C. Penny – things ain’t never gonna be the same again.
Oh, well, looks like garage sales are the last bastion for us “war-horse” bargain hunters. I know at least four of us who aren’t going to shop at Goodwill anymore and I, for one, am very, very sad about that. Truth is, bargain shopping appeals to people for various and sundry reasons. For me, it all boiled down to the loving of the game – and it appears the Goodwill Industries game is over!
Copyright©2013 Angela T. Blair – All Rights Reserved
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